Specialist James McMinn welcomed home
Specialist James McMinn with the U.S. Army was welcomed home from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
McMinn, a 1997 graduate of Buffalo Island Central High School, has been in the Army for three and a half years. He is married to Candy Crabtree McMinn and they have three daughters, Destiny 5, Zoe 2, and Cadence 5 months. He is the son of Buddy and Lynda McMinn of Leachville.
Over a hundred friends and family members gathered at the Manila Depot Feb. 26 to welcome him home. A barbecue dinner and all of the trimmings were served.
McMinn is a combat medic assigned with the 249. He spent a year in Afghanistan. He did get to come home for the birth of his youngest daughter.
McMinn is stationed at Eisenhower Army Medical Center at Ft. Gordon, Ga. The family will return to Ft. Gordon after visiting with family for two weeks.
Sp. McMinn received the Afghanistan Campaign Medal; Army Commendation; Army Achievement Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon and the German Shoots Smear.
This was McMinn's first overseas duty and he worked in a field hospital near the Capital.
It has been difficult for the family to be separated but they kept in contact through e-mail, telephone and letters.
Mrs. McMinn and daughters came home to Manila to stay while he was overseas.
The surprise party was originally planned for Friday but due to a delay in his arrival back to the States, it was moved to Sunday.
McMinn said it was difficult on the family, but he gained a lot of experience working in the field hospital.
"The Afghanistan people loved us," McMinn said. "Especially working at the hospital, I met a lot of people. The families were grateful for our help. We treated more civilians than military. I had the opportunity to personally speak with the President of the Country and he said he was glad the U.S. is there helping form a new government."
If plans go as scheduled, McMinn will be out of the Army in October. The family plans on returning to Manila and he plans on going to school to be a registered nurse.
McMinn said after his year working in the field hospital nothing in the medical field will surprise him.
The day was spent welcoming McMinn home, taking pictures, and eating. American flags were distributed and waved while several family members took the stage to sing "I'm Proud to Be an American."